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In early 2011, the Cascade Middle School Girl Scout Troop #1832 approached "Friends of the Vandalia Trail"
and proposed a service project to increase biodiversity along the 3-mile Vandalia Trail corridor between
the towns of Amo and Coatesville. As suggested, the troop consulted with the Hendricks County Parks & Recreation
staff naturalist and developed a plan to plant wildflowers and install bird and butterfly houses along
the trail property. The girls then put the plans into action this Fall with the benefits to come next summer.
During the year, the girls researched wildflowers for the area, then in the Fall they planted several bags of native wildflower seeds on both sides of the bicycle/pedestrian trail along the entire Coatesville mile. They plan another planting in the Spring. Trail users will be able to enjoy the expanded native wildflower population and diversity next summer.
Also during the year, the troop researched, designed, and built chickadee, wren, owl, and butterfly houses. In October, they began installing the houses in trees and on an old telephone pole along the western half of the 3-mile corridor. Click here to see the team at work and the types of houses created. Trail users can enjoy the creativity and high quality of the troop's work in person primarily in the area around the CR 675 W crossing. The troop will install the rest of their houses in the Spring. There will be about a dozen bird/owl houses and a half-dozen butterfly houses in all by Alyssa, Laura, Kassandra, and Ciara. Hendricks County Parks & Recreation crews will help going forward by monitoring and maintaining the houses as they maintain and improve this section of the trail.
Finally, the girls are also preparing binders to be donated to the Amo and Coatesville libraries that will show native Indiana trees, wildflowers, and birds that one may see along the trail. This will be a welcome resource especially after their project increases the chances for trail users to see the subjects in the wild.
Many thanks and congratulations to Cascade Middle School Girl Scout Troop #1832 for these wonderful enhancements of the Vandalia Trail property.
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